Reinforcing the image of higher education as a three to five year way to mollycoddle young adults, the University of Ottawa has banned a yoga class designed to help disabled students. The cause, if you can call it that, is that the practice of yoga creates circumstances of “oppression” and “cultural genocide.” In layman’s terms, Britain colonized India (as if the regime it supplanted was somehow UN compliant in the 1800s) and Canada is a British-founded white settler country. It is unfair, according to the critics of the class, for yoga to be taught when it is a spiritual practice rooted in the Hindu religion.
Disabled students, who already face massive obstacles in accessing the social opportunities of campus life, have been dealt a cruel slap to the face by the able-bodied students who represent the University of Ottawa as a whole. Jen Scharf had been generously teaching the class for seven years in a bid to help these vulnerable individuals. But that is just too shocking to SJWs, who felt the need to get offended and complain.
The real cultural genocide going on in Canada
The decision is bizarre for a number of other reasons, not least of which is that Canada is a profoundly (read: overly) multicultural country evidently obsessed with diluting its European roots. The founding ethnic groups of Canada as we know it, the British and French, have been joined by utter millions of new arrivals over decades. If any cultural genocide exists in Canada, it is against the ethnically or culturally British inhabitants.
Quebec’s French-speaking population has been able to assert itself as a distinct nation at risk of domination by English speakers and many, usually excessive privileges have been afforded to Canada’s indigenous tribes. In the meantime, descendants of the British and those Europeans who assimilated into the initial Anglo-Saxon culture are castigated for promoting their own ethnic Canadian identity.
Indians can be Indians, Chinese can be Chinese and, to a lesser extent, Serbs and other non-British Europeans can pay homage to their roots. What about British-Canadians? Any space associated with their distinct history is subsumed in a wider civic nationalism, which all the aforementioned groups are permitted an equal stake in. But when a group of mostly non-Indians, many of them disabled, practice yoga? The cultural police are called.
What about Indian Muslims and Muslims in general?
Yoga has distinctly Hindu roots, so is its practice by religious or secular Muslims a case of false cultural appropriation or genocide, too? After all, anyone familiar with Indian history would know that Muslims have exerted disproportionate influence on the subcontinent’s political and social history. The Mughal Empire, one of Asia’s finest, involved a Muslim minority ruling over a Hindu majority for centuries.
If Canada, which has none of the fraught racial and spiritual relations of India, can commit cultural genocide over the practice of yoga, this argument is only exacerbated when we consider Muslims in both India and generally, whom Hindu nationalists have regularly faced in modern eruptions of violence. And should yoga be restricted only to traditional Hindus, not nominal, non-practicing “Hindus”?
The idea that Canadians are the descendants or cousins of British oppressors and therefore cannot “own” yoga relies on a very narrow and self-serving narrative. Tenuously linking people born white today and their possible colonial ancestors not only exhibits the same bigotry SJWs claim to be fighting, it ignores oppression arguments concerning Muslims and Hindus over hundred of years. Yet that is exactly the sort of nuanced, balanced appraisal leftwing do-gooders will never engage in.
Let’s return everything to where it came from, right?
Isn’t the idea of the university a Muslim idea according to many scholars? It is said that universities as we know them began as religious centers of learning for Muslims. Just because mathematics and the sciences were studied there does not take away from their alleged cultural origins. So the University of Ottawa can by all means dissolve itself and stop such flagrant cultural oppression and minimization. And thus begins an endless series of debates and fistfights over who owns what and who can keep what. What is lost most of all meanwhile is common sense.
Once again, to appease the sensitivities of people who treat complaining as a sport, disabled Canadian students who want to engage in yoga for self-improvement, not mockery, have suffered. Real victims get a kick in a teeth by those who desperately want to be victims every day of the week.
This, my friends, is the world we live in.